Kings XI Punjab pulled off a last-over four-wicket win against the Delhi Daredevils at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium. Thanks to the resulting two points, the table-toppers have officially qualified for the Playoffs – becoming the first team to do so this season. Powered by Manan Vohra and Akshar Patel’s innings, the visitors scaled the 165-run target with four wickets in hand and two balls to spare.
Earlier, George Bailey asked DD to take first strike after he won the toss. Kevin Pietersen and Murali Vijay (5) opened the innings for the hosts. And while the DD skipper was on song, his opening partner did not last long as Sandeep Sharma dismissed him in the third over. Dinesh Karthik then joined Pietersen in the middle and the duo went after the opposition bowlers right away. By the end of the powerplay, they took their team’s score to 55 for one. By the halfway stage, DD had posted 84 runs, thanks to the second-wicket pair’s efforts.
However, Pietersen (49) was cleaned up Akshar Patel in the next over. JP Duminy (17), who replaced him, then played second fiddle to Karthik during their valuable 56-run stand. But IPL debutant Beuran Hendricks dismissed his fellow South African in the 17th over. Sandeep Sharma then got rid of Kedar Jadhav (0), who could only manage a golden duck. And just four balls later, the KXIP pacer got his third victim of the night when he dismissed Mayank Agarwal (6). And shortly thereafter, even Karthik’s (69) stellar knock – which comprised seven fours and three maximums – ended as well; Hendricks got rid of him to leave DD on 155 for six in 18.1 overs. Hendricks also got the wicket of compatriot Wayne Parnell (2) later in the same over.
Thanks to a tight final two overs that went for a combined nine runs, KXIP were able to restrict DD to 164 for seven in 20 overs. For the visitors, Sandeep Sharma (3/35) and Hendricks (3/36) were the key wicket-takers, while Akshar Patel bowled a tight spell that saw him concede just 18 runs off his four overs while picking a key wicket.
KXIP’s response was fuelled by some big hitting by Manan Vohra. With the experienced Virender Sehwag holding up one end, the 20-year-old unleashed a flurry of fours and sixes to give his team a big start. Thanks to his exploits, KXIP clocked in 66 runs in the powerplay itself. However, Vohra’s (42) 19-balls blitz came to an end in the very next over, courtesy Imran Tahir. And while Glenn Maxwell walked in next for KXIP, Sehwag (23) could not keep him company for too long; he was sent back to the dugout by Duminy in the eighth over. Even Maxwell (14) did not stick around too long as Tahir cleaned him up, to leave KXIP on 94 for four. And within a space of five balls, the dangerous David Miller (2) also departed; Duminy bowled him out to bring DD back in the contest.
Wriddhiman Saha (13) and Akshar Patel then stitched together a 33-run partnership to keep KXIP in the hunt. But the KXIP wicketkeeper-batsman got out off the bowling of Mohammed Shami off the last ball of the 15th over. With the visitors still 38 runs adrift of the target, their captain, George Bailey came in to bat. By then, Akshar Patel had settled in and he ended up scoring three valuable boundaries off the next over to bring the run-chase equation down to 26 off 24 balls. Although Tahir conceded only five off the next over, thanks to an Akshar Patel six in the 18th over, KXIP were just 11 runs short of the target with two overs to go.
Tahir then returned to dismiss Bailey (6) at a critical juncture. The DD leggie bowled an outstanding 19th over that ended up costing his side just two runs. With KXIP needing nine off the final over, Pietersen handed the ball to Parnell. Akshar Patel (42*) took a single off the first ball of the over, and Rishi Dhawan (8*) followed it up with two back-to-back doubles, leaving the run-chase equation on four off three balls. The KXIP all-rounder then pulled Parnell for a four in the midwicket region to seal a four-wicket win for his side.
Man of the Match: Akshar Patel for his all-round performance